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Best of Chris Sieroty

Gaming Guru

Chris Sieroty
 

Downtown Grand on schedule for fall opening

4 September 2013

LAS VEGAS -- Seth Schorr and his business partners’ multimillion-dollar investment to develop an “urban hospitality experience” in downtown Las Vegas will soon become a reality with the opening of the Downtown Grand.

Schorr, who partnered with Jeffrey Fine to create Fifth Street Gaming, is overseeing every detail of the property’s redevelopment and his firm will manage the casino-resort for developer CIM Group once it’s completed.

“We are hot and heavy in the final mile,” Schorr told the Review-Journal at Triple George Grill prior to a recent tour of the Downtown Grand. “We are on schedule for a fall opening.”

Schorr said the resort’s management and operations teams will move in this month in preparation for the resort’s grand opening. Fifth Street Gaming is still in the process of hiring 800 people and is accepting applications online with interviews to be held soon.

“It’s certainly getting close to completion,” the Fifth Street Gaming CEO said.

On Thursday, the carpets were down throughout most of the property, signs were going up and Third Street between Ogden and Stewart avenues was being paved. Workers were even installing slot machines and table games in the casino.

“It’s an ongoing process with our casino,” Schorr said. “We’ve tweaked it 50 times. I’d like to think we got it very close, but the reality is until you have hundreds off thousands of people walking through, you never know.”

Schorr expected the hotel’s brick façade to be completed within a couple of weeks.

The hotel’s rooftop pool called the Picnic is close to being completed with its intricate tile work almost finished before synthetic grass is installed. The pool area, which can host concerts and outdoor movie nights, is about 35,000 square feet.

The hotel lobby is accessible from several entrances along the Downtown3rd corridor. The casino’s center bar, named furnace, is being built and will be the focal point in the building that was once a neon factory. The four pillars making the corners of the furnace were built to support the Picnic pool above.

“We call it industrial chic,” Schorr said. “What is important to us is that we are creating an urban hospitality experience. What I mean by that is that we are integrated with downtown Las Vegas. Where a Strip resort is integrated with itself … it’s the perfect mouse trap not giving you a reason to leave.”

Schorr said the Downtown Grand decided to go in the other direction and encourage its guests to leave the building to walk across the street to the Mob Museum, or go to the Fremont Street Experience, or one of the bars on East Fremont.

“No matter how wonderful out hotel is, when a guest goes home to Tulsa, Pittsburgh or Sacramento, they are going to have a better story to tell if they explore the city rather than if they just stayed in the building,” Schorr said.

Fifth Street Gaming is overseeing the Downtown Grand renovations, which is the centerpiece of Downtown3rd, a walkable district featuring restaurants and shops between Ogden and Stewart avenues. CIM Group is investing more than $100 million in the project.

The 743-room Lady Luck closed in February 2006 and sat vacant until CIM Group acquired the property in 2007. Flanked by the Mob Museum and the future home of Zappos, the new resort has been hailed as the next step in downtown Las Vegas’ resurgence.

“We believe we are going to drive business to downtown,” Schorr said. “It’s our strategy not to cannibalize the current market. We want to grow the market.”

Downtown Las Vegas generated about $39.4 million in gaming revenues in July, down 4.46 percent from last year, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

“We are creating a local experience for tourists,” Schorr said.